City governments make changes to operations

UPDATED 4:20 p.m. March 18

By Travis Mounts
The Times-Sentinel

Local governments are making changes to how they are conducting business, as guidelines from the state of Kansas, the Sedgwick County Health Department and other agencies change and evolve on a daily – and sometimes hourly – basis.

Those changes include asking people to conduct routine business with their local city halls remotely – by phone, using drop-offs, and online.

Here is a town-by-town look at some of those changes. Please note that there could be additional changes since press time on Tuesday evening. Information on this page will be updated regularly.

Argonia

As of Tuesday, Argonia was planning to continue as normal, but noted that could change at any time.

In Argonia, city offices are remaining open. City clerk Tara Pierce said there is little traffic into City Hall, but said the situation is constantly being evaluated and the city officials will make changes as needed.

As of Tuesday, the Argonia-Dixon Township Library library was remaining open. The library is open 1-5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, and until 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

Cheney

City Hall remains open, but in a letter from city administrator Danielle Young, she asked customers to use the outside drop box for payments to help limit exposure to employees. Payments can be made online through the city website, www.cheneyks.org. Additionally, online utility accounts can be set up at www.municipalonlinepayments.com/cheneyks.

Burn permits and building permits can be accessed online. For additional help, call 316-540-3622 or 316-542-3622.

The exterior door to the police station will remain locked. Call the office at 316-542-3173 or the 24-hour cell phone at 316-213-5931. As always, call 911 with any emergency. All finger printing services provided by Cheney police have been suspended. This month’s municipal court, held on Wednesday, was limited to only those on the docket; family and spectators were not allowed.

Cherry Oaks, the city-owned golf course, remains open, but with changes. In addition to more frequent cleaning, the course has removed ball washers, water jugs, sand buckets and practice green flags – all things that many people would normally touch. On the greens, the putting cups now extend above the grass. Players should consider a ball holed once it makes contact with the cup.

On Monday night, the Cheney Public Library announced that starting on Tuesday of this week it would be closed until further notice.

Cheney Recreation Commission programs are continuing, although there could be schedule changes or postponements. Check www.cheneyrec.com for updates.

Clearwater

Business is continuing at Clearwater City Hall, but it is not business as usual. The city is asking residents to conduct all business by phone or via email and social media.

People needing to make utility payments can do that online at the city website, www.clearwaterks.org. Other options include paying by phone at 620-584-2311 or using the payment dropbox on the east side of City Hall.

Court payments may be made by phone or using the dropbox, but court payments are not accepted online.

All activities at the Clearwater Senior and Community Center have been postponed. Friendships Meals will continue being served.

Municipal court on March 18 was postponed to April 15.

The Clearwater Public Library made the decision to close as of Tuesday this week, and will remain closed through Saturday. On Friday, the library board will meet to make a decision about next week’s schedule. All due dates for items checked out have been extended, so there is not a need to worry about fines. Items may be returned in the library drop box.

Conway Springs

Local governments and businesses are dealing with challenges of the coronavirus outbreak and ever-changing guidance from state and federal officials.

On Tuesday, the City of Conway Springs made the decision to close city offices to the public, effective immediately and until further notice.

“Per discussion with council, staff, attorney, and abiding by the presidential and governor’s declarations, all city offices will be closed to the public until further notice to ensure the safety of our customers, staff, and governing body, effective immediately,” Conway Springs Mayor Jessica Gerlach wrote in a statement.

Residents should contact City Hall by phone at 620-456-2345 or by email at cscity@havilandtelco.com. Documents, concerns and complaints may be emailed or faxed to 620-456-3294. Payments may be made online at www.conwayspringsks.com or in the drop box in front of City Hall.

The Kansas Open Meetings Act requires that public meetings remain open to the public. To that end, Conway Springs will move its council meetings to a teleconference, and that will be in effect until further notice. To join a meeting, call 1-667-776-9209. City council meetings are held on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month.

For notification of special meetings, call 620-456-2345 or email cscity@havilandtelco.com.

The Conway Springs City Library is closed until further notice. That decision was made by the library board.

Many other events have been canceled or may be. This Thursday’s Conway Springs Chamber of Commerce work day with Conway Springs High School students was canceled, as was the noon membership meeting planned at Gambino’s Pizza.

The next meeting has been scheduled for April 20. The annual citywide garage sales and clean-up day are scheduled for the following week. Those events are still on for now, but are subject to change.

The Conway Springs Development Foundation over the weekend canceled all exercise and yoga classes through March 28.

Last Saturday’s annual meeting for the Sumner-Cowley Electric Cooperative was postponed. That event would have brought 600 people together at Wellington High School. A new date has not been set.

Garden Plain

The city is asking that citizens limit business at City Hall to essential business only.

If possible, utility payments should be dropped in the slot at the front of the building, mailed in, or paid via credit card through the city’s website at www.gardenplain.com.

Other business can be directed to the city by email at cityclerk@gardenplain.com or by calling 316-531-2321. Other concerns may be directed to Mayor Kevin Hammond through Facebook.

The Garden Plain Community Library posted Monday night that it would remain open but will re-evaluate on a day-to-day basis. The library will be open during normal hours, but only for quick checkout. The children’s play materials will be removed. Patron computers and the meeting room will be unavailable. All materials returned to the library will be wiped down and quarantined for 72 hours before being made available again for checkout.

Goddard

New operational plans went into effect on Monday and will remain in place until further notice. City Hall and other city offices are open during regular business hours for online and telephone transactions. In person transactions are being restricted.

Call City Hall at 316-794-2441 or visit the city website at www.goddardks.gov. In addition, utility payments can be made online at https://portal.goddardks.gov:54982/Internetpayments/.

For municipal court, the court clerk’s office remains open. Email court@goddardks.gov with questions about current transactions for filings.

Police patrols will continue. Officers will exercise “great discretion” in enforcement activities. The highest priority for calls will be crimes in progress; issues affecting public safety, issues affecting traffic safety and traffic flow, medical calls in which officers could perform life-saving measures, and calls otherwise deemed to be critical in nature.

The non-emergency line is 316-794-2051. All emergencies should be directed to 911. Finger-printing services and child car seat inspections and installations are suspended until further notice.

Haysville

City Hall business, including water bill payments, park shelter rentals and dog licenses, should be conducted by telephone are at the drive-up window on the west side of the building. Signs at the entryway to City Hall encourage people to call 316-529-5900 or to use the drive-up window.

The recycling center at Public Works is closed until further notice. Dropping off brush, metal, concrete and mulch should be postponed until the recycling center reopens. Permits and license forms can be found online at www.haysville-ks.com/forms. Call Public Works at 316-529-5940.

Municipal court for March 17 and March 24 have been canceled. Anyone needing to pay a fine is asked to do so online at www.haysvilletix.com or be telephone at 800-701-8560. Questions should be directed to the court clerk at 316-529-5945.

The Haysville Activity Center closed at noon Monday, and will remain closed indefinitely. The HAC’s spring break camp was canceled.

The Haysville Community Library was maintaining normal hours as of Tuesday. Library director Ken Bell said nearly all events scheduled at the library through the end of March have canceled.

We are seriously considering a closure,” Bell said Tuesday afternoon. That decision is still in the air. “We expect a decision by Friday.”

Sedgwick County

A state of emergency was declared on Monday. As part of that, a limit of no more than 50 people was placed on public gatherings. That includes restaurants and bars, church services, all kinds of entertainment events, and more.

As a preventative measure, the county has closed the Sedgwick County Zoo, Exploration Place, Sedgwick County Extension, and the Household Hazardous Waste swap and shop. A number of meetings have been postponed, including all Metropolitan Area Planning Commission meetings, e-waste collection events and all citizen advisory boards and citizen engagement meetings. Onside visitation at the Sedgwick County Detention Facility is suspended until at least March 31.

Many other community locales have closed, including the Wichita Art Museum and the Ulrich Museum at Wichita State University. Local colleges have extended spring break and started plans to move to online learning.

The COMCARE Community Crisis Center is open to help people struggling at this time. Call 316-660-7500 for help or for more information.

If you have to conduct business the county tag office, you are asked to come alone. Renewal boxes have been placed at Station One at each tag office; by utilizing the box, yhou will not be charged the $5 per vehicle transaction fee. Tags may be renewed online at https://ikan.ks.gov/ or by downloading the IKan app.

Sumner County

The 13th Judicial District, based in Wellington, will remain open for the time being. The clerk’s office will stay open for filings, including contact by telephone. Electronic filings may still be made through the e-FLEX system.

All civil jury trials scheduled through May 1 are continued pending further action of the court. Criminal jury trials scheduled through May 1 are continued, except when a criminal defendant’s right to a speed trail might denied.

Any juror that received a summons for trials through May 1 do not need to report to the courthouse on the assigned date. All jurors summoned between March 16 and May 1 will be placed back into the jury pool.

In addition, the court will not schedule any new marriage ceremonies.

The March and April meetings of the Sumner County Historical and Genealogical Society have been called off.